The St. Lucia government says it will be implementing a ban on the importation of Styrofoam and selected plastic food service containers as of June 1, this year.
“Therefore, any Styrofoam and the selected plastic food service containers landed after May 31, 2019 will not be released by the Customs and Excise Department. These items will be phased out over a one year period commencing June 1, 2019 until May 31, 2020,” Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development Minister, Dr. Gale T C Rigobert said in a statement.
She said that St. Lucia is committed to improving the health and environment of the nation and that studies have shown food service containers made from polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, along with plastics have continued to negatively affect the health of citizens and the cleanliness of the environment.
She said over the last several months, several stakeholders, including the St. Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority, the Department of Economic Development and the Customs and Excise have worked towards in developing a suitable strategy to eliminate single use plastics, polystyrene and expanded polystyrene from our market and environment.
Rigobert said that the phased ban on the plastics and Styrofoam ‘will allow all stakeholders a chance to exhaust their current stock and to source environmentally friendly alternatives.
“The importer will bear the associated costs for disposal of any seized items,’ she said, adding that in the first instance, the government will be phasing out the importation of all Styrofoam food service containers including cups, plates, and hinged take-away containers and other selected plastic cups, plates and containers.
“Thereafter, a ban on the use of these products will become effective immediately on June 1, 2020. As a country, we can only successfully achieve our goals if we work together. I therefore invite the private sector, non-government organizations, schools, the media, faith-based organizations and residents to give full support as we endeavour to preserve our fragile environment for ourselves and future generations,” she said.